Electricity Rates Increase, Phones Could Follow

April 28, 2006

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) has increased electricity rates and is studying the possibility of nearly doubling phone rates for landlines.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), the state-run electricity and telecommunications monopoly, has requested an increase in the price of daytime phone calls from ¢3.6 a minute to ¢5 a minute and during the nighttime from ¢1.8 to ¢3.5 a minute, the daily La Nación reported.

In exchange for the increase, ICE says it will start charging users for the exact time of phone calls, to the second, rather than rounding up to the next minute, as it currently does.

Last week, ARESEP approved an increase in electricity rates under ICE by an average 13%.

The cost for the first 200 kilowatts of energy during the high season (Jan. 1 to May 31) will increase from ¢6,900 to ¢8,000 ($13.63 to $15.78), according ARESEP, which approved the rate hike April 21.

During the low season prices will increase from ¢5,720 to ¢6,640 ($11.30 to $13.12).

The increase will go into effect when it is published in the government daily La Gaceta, expected to happen by today, and will affect 400,000 ICE users in the country.

Approximately 98% of the national territory has access to electricity, making Costa Rica second only to Chile in Latin American countries with the most electrical coverage, President Abel Pacheco boasted Sunday during his weekly radio address.

Pacheco attributed Costa Rica’s success in electrical coverage to four projects implemented during his administration which increased national electricity generation by 250,000 kilowatts and increased energy transmission networks by 2,000 kilometers.

 

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